Monday, December 23, 2013

Leaving Spain and farewell to Europe

We were in Tarifa and felt pretty miserable. It seemed that our to-do list was too long especially compared to the unavailability of internet and the flat as such. We discussed and prioritized based on what we want (or better said what we and the bikes really need), where we have some other solutions, how much those cost etc.

Christmas in Morocco was a clear yes, which meant we kept the ferry tickets and leave Spain as planned. We were able to cancel all orders which we made to the apartment in Tarifa and so we booked us another hotel in Manilva (and hope we get some refund from the Tarifa flat).

On the way to Manilva we found a Honda bike shop and I could persuade Paqui (who is originally from Germany) to get us our beloved Heidenau tyres. The BMW dealer opposite did not care very much to start searching for them. YSS did send me a basic rear shock which I will keep as a spare for future (thank you very much for this Christmas present). The broken shock went back to Netherlands for repair. The repaired one will come back to me somewhere in Morocco and so will our CdPs and IDPs (hopefully).

The discussions about the Carnets with ADAC did continue until the last minute in Manilva. All in all it took now two weeks to clarify one single detail and in the end we found a solution for this problem.

We rode to Manilva with the hopes that the new apartment will be better. Obviously I looked a bit worn out and the lady at the reception had mercy. The dogs did cost extra, however we got a huge discount and on top of that we were able to park the bikes in the underground parking for free. That was very nice and a good start. The flat was almost luxury for us and for the first time in months we enjoyed a Finnish sauna (dry, but hot) and a whirlpool!

Milady was extremely happy. My mood was also getting better and I had a few hassle-free days. So on our second day in Manilva we had a pre-Christmas party and enjoyed plenty of delicious raw food goodies, that Skippy had been wanting to experiment for a long time! Girls got also their beloved porridge every day, now that we finally had a working stove!
We named this street "kakkakuja" (poop-alley) - there was poop everywhere! :)
In the end of "kakkakuja" there was a beautiful park where we played a lot with girls.
Reminded us of our old neighborhood in Sundsberg, Masala, Finland (
Couch with a view :D
Play of sun and clouds.
A two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere - one end a round-about and at the other end solid rocks :D
Heidenau K60 after 27.000km as a front tyre (maybe still good for a few thousands?).
Waiting for the tyre and cleaning my air filter.
I got me also a new backtyre. The Uniroyal did not last too long, now I am trying a Bridgestone BT250 (175/65R15). After almost 23.000km Skippy's Suzi got also a new backtyre - again a Heidenau K60. The old one would have still lasted a few thousands, however the big puncture from Latvia caused the tyre to leak air and we thought it is time to change it now. I also changed Suzi's air-filter to a K&N re-usable. These are the moments which I do not like! Taking all the plastic parts away and putting them back takes over one hour, changing the air-filter only takes 5 minutes!
Enjoying some last European unhealthy goodies before Africa :)
We wanted to downsize a bit and donated some not so needed stuff to the Adana dog rescue shelter and second-hand shop (
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Our track from Europe - looks funny :D
Besides all the bike maintenance, it was also time again to take care of ourselves and girls. I went to the dentist in Sabinillas for a check-up. Valeria - the doctor - had a quick look and did not find anything which would require further action. Good for me and it got even better - she did not charge me anything!

Girls got also their teeth checked and cleaned. This we try to do about once a year, because poodles tend to get easily teeth problems. We have brushed their teeth with "normal" toothpaste meant for dogs, but it didn't work at all. So now we're using a new mixture made by Skippy: bentonite clay and Neem tree powder. Both are natural, healthy, vegan and cruelty free products and also recommended for both human and animal healthcare. We use the same mixture with some added ingredients to brush our teeth and can warmly recommend it to everyone!!!

While girls got their teeth cleaned they got also tested for heartworms, Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis. All results were negative and then girls got vaccinated against heartworm, which are really creepy and dangerous parasites! We also gave them some medicine against Echinococcus and each received a health certificate which is required to enter Morocco. The decision on how to prevent Leishmania is still open... The doctor gave us Advantix drops, but the ingredients and the risks of the medicine sounded really horrible! It's a nasty pesticide!!! Scalibor-collars would be also one option, but back in Finland doctor said it shouldn't be used for under 5 kg dogs, so that would basically exclude Lyra and Ulpu.... Have to continue the study on these matters and hopefully find some more natural stuff... Luckily it's not mosquito season here right now!

Farewell to Europe
Looking a little back on those first seven months on the road. I would say that it was rather brave from us to start this journey with a newly built sidecar. In this way, it was good to get things fixed here in Europe (and within EU) as it was one of our original ideas why to ride first around in Europe before going to exotic places. We only got a snap-shot to see of all the beauty Europe has to offer. We said "no" to many places and attractions because we really wanted to go to Africa.
Our most favorite places were (1) Croatia and especially the Plitvice Lakes (2) Pyrenees and (3) Alps.

Things work in Europe. We noted that they work better in Germany (we do not count Finland, otherwise Finland would "win" this section :)) and less in Spain.

Taking the dogs along with us was a conscious decision and no way we would have left them behind. We were aware that we had to pay a little extra once in a while (we just did not like to get ripped-off!), as well as that there are people in this world who do not like dogs or are afraid of them. In any case, we made experiences which we would have never had without our girls!

~ Wolfi


  1. Good luck for your journey to Africa, have a Merry Christmas and exciting year 2014!
    Cheers Horst

    1. Thank you very much Horst and have a great 2014 as well :)

  2. Hi, We had some experience for Leishmana vaccinations in Portugal for our Coton boys (~7kg). We started with Scalibur collars, but our other dog got a serious itch and cramps of it. We changed it then to Advantix and no problems ever since (1,5y).

    Good luck to Africa!


    1. Thanks for sharing this experience. I've basically heard only bad stuff about Scalibur, so that's definitely a no-no for us! Have to think about the Advantix still, maybe first in bit smaller dose...

      ~ Ilta

  3. Congratulations! You are about to reach a very important milestone, entering phase two. Keep up the good spirit. We are very happy for you.
    Ja hyvää joulua Wolfille, Iltalle ja tytöille!

    Jussi and the girls.

    1. Hello Jussi and the girls. Thanks for your encouraging words and we hope you are in the middle of some relaxing holidays as well.

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